A $5 billion pipeline vital to Premier Christy Clark’s plan to revitalize British Columbia’s economy through LNG development is facing a tough environmental battle on the north coast. “They can’t be allowed to follow that route,” grizzly bear biologist Wayne McCrory said last month of the pipeline corridor proposed for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project.
McCrory said the pipeline poses a clear threat to bears because it would cut through the Khutzeymateen grizzly bear sanctuary, which became the first protected area of its kind in Canada when it was set aside 19 years ago. It is officially known as Khutzeymateen Provincial Park. The 465-mile line is planned to link gas fields near Hudson’s Hope, in eastern B.C., to two LNG plants that would be built on Lelu Island, at Prince Rupert.
In a statement released by the Valhalla Wilderness Society, McCrory said the proposed pipeline corridor “will shatter the ecological integrity of the whole area, and is a threat to every grizzly bear for miles around.” He estimated 50 grizzly bears use Khutzeymateen Inlet, which is one of the premier bear-viewing sites on the West Coast. Measures to protect bears in the area are so strict that tourists cannot go ashore and boaters are advised to stay in the middle of the inlet.